Bolton: No 'second thoughts' about how he sounded alarms over Trump conduct

Bolton reported President Donald Trump's alleged misconduct to two of his staunchest defenders, Attorney General William Barr and White House counsel Pat Cipollone.

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By Dareh Gregorian

John Bolton said Thursday that he has no regrets about who he did — and didn't — raise alarm bells to about potentially impeachable conduct by President Donald Trump while he was Trump's national security adviser.

"I passed this information to the people I thought I should pass it to, and I don't have any second thoughts about that," Bolton said in an interview with Nicolle Wallace on MSNBC's "Deadline: White House." The people Bolton said he reported his concerns to about Trump's dealings with Ukraine and the presidents of China and Turkey are two of Trump's staunchest defenders, Attorney General William Barr and White House counsel Pat Cipollone.

"I've known Bill Barr for well over 30 years. He's a man of integrity," Bolton said. "I thought he would do his job." Bolton said he'd known Cipollone for a shorter period of time but believed he was a man of integrity, as well.

"They were unhappy with what they were hearing about the president's conduct," Bolton said.

Cipollone wound up acting as Trump's lead lawyer in his Senate impeachment trial, where he was charged with withholding military assistance to Ukraine because he wanted it to turn over dirt on Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton.

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Bolton, as he has done repeatedly while promoting his new book, defended his decision not to cooperate with the House Democrats who were investigating Trump's Ukraine conduct, which Bolton witnessed.

"I don't march to Nancy Pelosi's drum," Bolton said, referring to the House speaker.

"The Democratic leadership in the House committed impeachment malpractice" by not working harder to involve Republicans in the process, Bolton said, suggesting that Democrats were interested only in "virtue signaling."

Asked why he didn't raise more alarms with more people and saved the allegations of misconduct for his book, Bolton said, "I'm not into virtue signaling."

In an interview Thursday with Sean Hannity on Fox News, Trump said Bolton was "crazy" and "didn't do a good job" in the White House.

"He wasn't smart," Trump said. "He's the only man I think I ever met — I knew him for a year — I don't think I ever saw him smile once. I said to him, 'John, do you ever smile?' And it tells you something about somebody."